Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have some famous fans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rob Riggle spent a long January day in 2019 trekking through snow and ice in Iceland to get to a remote location to film an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls.

He once climbed a 40-foot ice wall. He remembers eating a deer head at one of his meals. He would sleep on a glacier that night. He called the experience “hellish”.

He had one thought all day that comforts him. There was some semblance of satellite service, allowing him to follow the Kansas City Chiefs in their first AFC championship game in 25 years.

“The game started maybe midnight and I couldn’t televise it,” Riggle recalled of the Chiefs’ epic game against the New England Patriots. “But I needed to know what was going on and I could get updates maybe every five or 10 minutes.

“I thought we won the game. It was about 3am and I should have slept because I had been hiking and trudging through the snow for a whole day. But I’ve been following it and getting updates every five or ten minutes. That was me, I won’t miss it.”

The Chiefs would lose 37-31 in overtime to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Riggle wasn’t the only famous fan disappointed with the result.

Rock star Melissa Etheridge occasionally sings the national anthem before games at Arrowhead Stadium and won’t miss the Chiefs on TV even when she’s on tour. Actor Eric Stonestreet, who starred in ABC’s Modern Family, has a suite at the Arrowhead. Paul Rudd was frequently spotted on the touchlines before games and partying on the field with quarterback Patrick Mahomes after the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

The list goes on. Actors Jason Sudeikis, Heidi Gardner, David Koechner, John Amos and Henry Cavill and NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer cheer on the Chiefs. Amos once had a tryout for the Chiefs as a running back. Gardner said she would like to arrange for Mahomes and Travis Kelce to guest present on “Saturday Night Live.”

Why the chiefs? It might seem random or that they’ve been Johnny come latelies since the rise of Mahomes, but most of these famous fans actually have ties to the Kansas City area. And like all longtime Chiefs fans, they’ve earned these winning streaks because they suffered with the team through many lean years and many disappointing losses before Mahomes became the starter in 2018.

“I keep pinching myself,” Etheridge said. “But I’m now a fan of one of those teams with a special quarterback and we’re expected to make the playoffs and it’s no surprise if we win a Super Bowl.”

SOME FROM ETHERIDGE The earliest memories are of watching the Chiefs on TV from her father John in Leavenworth, Kansas — specifically the 1970 Super Bowl IV win over the Minnesota Vikings.

“In all the years since then I’ve watched other teams with their great quarterbacks like Green Bay with Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers and Indianapolis with Peyton Manning and seen them become dynasties and I’ve been like, ‘All we need, is that a quarterback,'” she said.

“When the Chiefs traded Patrick Mahomes, I was like, ‘Is that it? Is that the one?'”

Etheridge now lives in California but says game day at her house is Chiefs day, adding that her kids can “basically get anything they want from me as long as they leave me alone to do that.” watch the Chiefs game.”

“In the early ’90s I was a bit lost because I was in California and I only got the odd Chiefs game on TV,” she said. “But once DirecTV started, I was right back in it, every second of it.”

When she’s on tour, her bus is equipped with satellite television so she can watch the Chiefs. Occasionally, when the signal isn’t clear, she’ll ask the driver to move to a higher level so she can watch undisturbed.

“It’s a real first world rock star problem,” she said.

Others have their own Chiefs game day routines. Stonestreet has its suite in Arrowhead, where friends and family are welcome – but only if chatter is reduced. He doesn’t want to be distracted from the game.

Last October, at the NASCAR race in Kansas City, officials asked him to say “Gentlemen, start your motors!” call and he happily accepted. Then he realized the race was on a Sunday. A Chiefs Sunday.

“They asked me to do it maybe two months early and I said I was in without a second thought,” Stonestreet said. “A few days later I texted them back and said, ‘Wait a minute, I might have taken on too much because if this is a home game, I can’t do it.'”

It turns out the Chiefs were playing the Tennessee Titans in Nashville that day, so he kept his promise. He had to make alternative arrangements that day to see Kansas City in a disappointing 27-3 loss.

“I’m in the pits during the race and everyone is watching the race – except I’m over [there] I’m sitting on a tool box watching the Chiefs on my phone,” he said.


RIGGLE LIVES IN California usually returns to Arrowhead for a few games each season, though. He has also done some promotional work for the Chiefs for their website or for use on the Arrowhead video board before or during games.

He even banged the drum before games, an Arrowhead tradition. Once he hit the drum so hard that the drumstick broke.

“Going to Arrowhead is special,” Riggle said. “The tailgate is so unique. The parking lot smells heavenly, especially on a clear fall day. It’s the best, absolutely best environment. They run the gauntlet of emotions and memories and happy times and close games and big wins.

“There is nothing for me but happy memories.”

Riggle once had a role on Fox’s pregame show. He would always pick the Chiefs to win, even in 2012 when the Chiefs went 2-14.

He was such a fan. He said he remembers games in the 1980s when Bo Jackson played for the Royals but against the Chiefs as a member of the Los Angeles Raiders.

“We literally put up signs for a week [at Kauffman Stadium] say “Bo knows baseball” and “We love Bo” and cheer him on and love him because he was the greatest thing on earth and then a week later he comes back to Arrowhead with the Raiders and they all just ended up being his fall,” Riggle said.

He won’t bother any of the Raiders on Monday night when they play the Chiefs at Arrowhead. But Riggle will wear the red Chiefs T-shirt, which he said he’s donned to every game in the last seven years, or since it was what he wore to a game in 2016 when the Chiefs had a dramatic one Made comebacks to beat the Chargers.

Etheridge is gearing up for a series of shows in New York, but she’ll be watching anyway. Stonestreet will be in his Arrowhead suite no doubt asking for quiet.

They’ll all draw for the Chiefs.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34763263/patrick-mahomes-kansas-city-chiefs-some-famous-fans Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have some famous fans

Emma Bowman

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